Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gas Activist Runs for PA Governor on Write-In Campaign

Virginia Cody wasn't planning on running for governor. This retired US Air Force captain has enough to do already, what with challenging the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security (OHS) to cease surveillance on ordinary citizens and her continued anti-drilling activism. Still, last week Cody announced that she's running a write-in campaign for the top office at the PA Statehouse.

 Cody isn't your typical PA politician. For one thing, her pockets aren't lined with donations from the gas companies. Both of her opponents, Tom Corbett (GOP) and Dan Onorato (Dem) have received scads of money from the natural gas industry. According to Marcellus Money Corbett received  $372,720 and Onorato $74,300 - most of it in the past couple years.

For another, Cody has called for a moratorium on further natural gas extraction. She wants the state to have time to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment, water, animals, agriculture... But all we hear, Cody told the Times Tribune last week, "is candidates regurgitating the industry spin that there have been no confirmed cases of contamination. We know better!"

What does Cody want to see happen in her state? Aside from a moratorium, she'd like to see a severance tax. Landowners, says Cody, shouldn't have to pay taxes on the wealth that the gas companies will extract. Cody is not in favor of "forced pooling" - landowners should have the right to reject a lease. And Cody would like to see local municipalities retain their zoning authority.

The problem, Cody told me in an October 1 interview, is that her state government seems to be in collusion with the gas corporations. This was highlighted during the recent "Intelligence Bulletin Scandal" when Cody revealed to the press that the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), contracted to collect intelligence for the OHS, was targeting anti-drilling activists for surveillance. 

These are law-abiding citizens exercising their rights to protest what their government is doing, Cody explained. She is concerned that law-abiding citizens are being depicted as "eco-terrorists" and  lumped onto a watch list that was sent out to - best estimate of James Powers (head of the OHS)  - some 800 people including universities and gas industry representatives and lobbyists.

You can read more about Cody's platform and her bid for office at her website.


  1. I'm vigorously supporting her campaign on the SINGLE ISSUE of NO FORCED POOLING! That's an issue that even the more-anti-drilling-than-thou and more-pro-drilling-than-thou factions of my fellow landowners ought to be able to unite on.

  2. I am glad to see others taking a stand in the support of our wonderful state and to keep it in tact. There are a few things to be addressed in her statement, one is the severance tax, the Gas & Oil Co's will not be the only one paying this tax, it will be the taxpayers also. There are many leaseholders that depending on how their lease is written will be responsible for costs and that includes taxes, not only federal but the severance tax, which the rate proposed will leave the landowner with very little to nothing. The other point on this also is that these funds are not going to be placed where they are stating they are, has everyone read the papers lately, they keep changing the direction of the severance tax and who gets the bigger percentage, lets face it the funds are always spent elsewhere and the programs designed for the roads, environmental protection etc., will still struggle to find the funds to do the job. And the local taxpayers will be burdened again to have a tax increase to cover the costs. Another point, the state already has leased thousand of acres for drilling, where is that money? Should that not have helped out the state for the roads and environmental improvement and repairs, etc? We need to find out where our funds are, and that trail my fellow neighbors is well covered and buried with no trace. Think about your hard earned money and your taxes and contact your state senators offices and say no to severance tax and yes to placing the proper people in charge of the funds already extracted.